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J Altern Complement Med. 2002 Oct;8(5):609-14.

An assessment of the ayurvedic concept of cancer and a new paradigm of anticancer treatment in Ayurveda.

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  • 1Department of Kayachikitsa (Internal Medicine), Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India.


This paper critically examines the Ayurvedic concept of cancer diathesis and its pathogenesis in terms of the theory of Tridosa, Sapta Dhātus (body tissues), the Agni or body's biologic fire, Srotámsi (i.e., channels of the body), and the generic sequence of events in the genesis of a disease (e.g., Satkriyākala). All this depicts a new paradigm of the disease state. This paper also examines the scope of plant drugs used in the treatment of cancer. A retrospective meta-analysis of observations on 85 plant drugs reported to have an anticancer effect indicates that herbs with Katu, Tikta, Kasāya Rasa (bitter, pungent, and astringent taste), Usna Virya (e.g., hot biopotency), and Katu Vipāka (catabolic active metabolites), and herbs with dry, coarse, light, and sharp biophysical properties have significantly greater possibilities of producing anticancer effects.

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